Best of our wild blogs: 26 Aug 18

Sailors of Singapore
Butterflies of Singapore

Night Walk At Windsor Nature Park (24 Aug 2018)
Beetles@SG BLOG

Goodbye Kampong Java Park
Remember Singapore

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Malaysia: Three orangutans captured and relocated after invading orchard in Kinabatangan

natasha joibi The Star 25 Aug 18;

KINABATANGAN: Three male orangutans were safely relocated to a new home after the villagers of Kampung Sri Ganda found the great apes in their midst eating fruits in the orchards on Aug 16.

Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) public relations officer Siti Nur'Ain Ampuan Acheh said a team of rangers were deployed to evaluate the situation after the department was contacted by the villagers.

"A translocation operation was initiated on Tuesday (Aug 21).

"The operation involved SWD rangers and veterinary officer Dr Nabila Sarkawi. They managed to capture three male orangutans aged seven, 15 and 25 respectively.

The orangutans were released into the Kulamba Wildlife Reserve on Saturday (Aug 25).

Three male orangutans released into the wild
Avila Geraldine New Straits Times 25 Aug 18;

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Wildlife Department has safely translocated three male orangutans to a new home after being rescued from a fruit orchard at a village in Kinabatangan, last week.

The department's public relations officer Siti Nur’ain Ampuan Acheh, in a statement, said the orangutans aged 7, 15, and 25 respectively were released into the Kulamba Wildlife Reserve today.

The orangutans were first spotted by villagers from Kampung Sri Ganda on Aug 16.

“They were said to be eating fruits in their (villagers) planted orchards.

“The Department deployed a team of rangers to evaluate the situation and captured the orangutans. A translocation operation was initiated on Aug 21,” said Siti.

She added the operation involved the department’s wildlife rangers and veterinary officer, Dr Nabilla Sarkawi.

She said medical examination was conducted on all three orangutans and they were recorded healthy and fit before being released into the wild.

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Malaysia: Open burning not done in decades, says Sime Darby

The Star 26 Aug 18;

PETALING JAYA: One of Malaysia’s biggest plantation companies reaffirms its zero-burning policy in its operations across Indonesia as haze from hotspots in Sumatra and Kalimantan blows into the country.

Sime Darby Plantation (SDP), which has operations in nine provinces in Kalimantan, Sumatra and Sulawesi and with a total oil palm-planted area of more than 202,000ha, said it did not practise burning to clear land at all.

“Our oil palm estates are mainly located in south, west and central Kalimantan; Riau and south Sumatra.

“Hotspots in our operations are being monitored constantly with the use of a satellite system.

SDP was responding to queries on its commitment to zero-burning policy at its estates in Indonesia, where local authorities in the past blamed Malaysian companies for the open burning.

SDP said it had also extended its zero-burning policy to its neighbours and helped them monitor and put out fires in areas within a 5km radius of its estates’ boundaries.

“As part of this commitment, all our estates maintain their own firefighting teams who are fully equipped.

“Our operations also engage the neighbouring local communities to help them set up their own fire-prevention initiative, otherwise known as Masyarakat Peduli Api.

“We also establish co-operation with other companies within the vicinity of our operations to monitor hotspots,” it said.

It added that its Sustainable Community-based Fire Prevention Programme was implemented in partnership with local universities to educate local communities in fire-prone villages surrounding its operations.

“To date, it has covered 19 villages or about 40,000ha comprising areas surrounding our operations in Sumatra and south Kalimantan,” it said.

It maintained that SDP did not practise burning to clear land and had not done so for more than three decades.

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Indonesia: Court Finds President Jokowi Guilty in 2015 Kalimantan Forest Fire

Tempo 25 Aug 18;

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Palangkaraya High Court found that President Joko `Jokowi` Widodo guilty for negligence in the 2015 forest fire case that ended up causing a larger issue from the smoke it produced.

Director of West Kalimantan`s non-profit Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) Anton P. Widjaya said that the pieces of evidence in the field corroborates to the verdict.

Anton explained that up to August 14, there were 790 hot spots in the region with 201 of them in corporate areas. “Based on the hot spots on August 14, 2018, that were overlaid with West Kalimantan’s concession distribution map, there were 201 hot spots from the 790 spots in the concession,” he said on Friday, August 24.

He further expressed that the images from NASA MODIS Collection 6 (C6) aligns 80-100 percent to the West Kalimantan’s investment distribution map. This is the reason why Walhi urges the Forestry and Environment Ministry Siti Nurbaya Bakar to clarify the statement issued by Ruandha Agung Sugardiman, Director General of climate change control, who stated that the forest fires were caused by civilians in the area.

The statement by Ruandha, said Anton, reflects the lack of commitment from the government institution in upholding the law in environmental-related cases. Anton deemed the government’s statement is not backed by data, heavily subjective, and gives the impression that the government is protecting corporations that intentionally burn its concession land areas.

“The effect of one hundred farmers that burn their limited crop field areas and one corporation that burns thousands of hectares of land is not the same,” said Anton who acknowledged the fact that there are civilians who manage their field by conducting small-scale forest fires.

“The legal responsibility is in corporations and bureaucracy as owners of concessions, but why are the people that get the blame. The country should not protect environmental criminals in Indonesia,” Anton said.

Walhi further asks President Jokowi to make sure that the environment ministry would keep its commitment to take legal steps against corporations that are proven to be guilty in order to recover natural resource management in Indonesia.


Court receives Jokowi's cassation petition against forest fire guilty verdict
Marguerite Afra Sapiie The Jakarta Post 28 Aug 18;

The Supreme Court has received a cassation appeal filed by the government against a Palangkaraya High Court ruling that found President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo liable in the disastrous forest fires in Central Kalimantan.

Court spokesman Abdullah said the Supreme Court's administrative division was still checking the completeness of the appeal dossier, after which it would be handed over to the clerks’ division to be given a registration number.

"We cannot be sure when [the case will be processed] but it will not be too long, possibly within one month at the maximum," Abdullah said on Tuesday adding that the government would get no privilege from the court in handling the case.

Palangkaraya High Court ruled on Aug. 22 upholding the Palangkaraya District Court's ruling issued in March last year, which sided with environmental activists from Central Kalimantan who filed a citizen’s lawsuit against the government on the 2015 fires that caused the nation’s worst-ever haze crisis.

The activists filed the lawsuit against the President and his Cabinet ministers, including the environment, agriculture and health ministers as well as the Central Kalimantan governor and Central Kalimantan Regional Representative Council (DPRD).

In the ruling, the District Court ordered Jokowi to issue a regulation to support the implementation of the 2009 Environmental Protection and Management Law to prevent and control forest fires with the involvement of members of the public.

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